EXCLUSIVE: Viacom’s MTV Group has promoted four executives in its content group to Senior Vice President. Veteran MTV executive Bahareh Kamali has been named SVP/Head of Strategic Development, adding CMT, MTV Studios, MTV Documentary Films and Scripted to her purview. Additionally, Dara Cook has been elevated to SVP/Original Franchise Programming and Benjamin Hurvitz and Sitarah Pendelton to SVPs/Original Series. All four, who were previously Vice Presidents, will report to President of Entertainment Nina L. Diaz. Three of them, Cook, Hurvitz and Pendelton, launched their executive careers at MTV having joined the company as writers/showrunners.
The promotions follow a strong summer for MTV Group whose shows claimed more than half of the top 30 unscripted ad-supported cable series spots in the P18-34 demo (Live+3).
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“Bahareh, Dara, Ben, and Sitarah are key contributors in fueling our content group’s growth and success,” said Diaz. “Their unparalleled creativity matches their relentless pursuit to deliver best in class results that inspire and activate our audience.”
Kamali, who joined Viacom 16 years ago, has risen through the ranks and now expands her responsibilities to include MTV’s full suite of brands, serving as the chief liaison in deal negotiations alongside Business and Legal Affairs. Earlier in her career, Kamali held various BA positions with PBS and the Screen Actors Guild.
In her new role as SVP Original Franchise Programming, Cook will be brokering key collaborations, launching a podcast vertical and fostering brand opportunities for franchise programming, tentpoles and events. Cook began her career at MTV in 2001 as a lead writer for the VMAs and TRL.
Hurvitz, SVP, Original Series, adds to his oversight of the Teen Mom reality juggernaut which he helped transform into a franchise with Teen Mom: OG, Teen Mom 2, and Teen Mom: Young and Pregnant. Hurvitz, who was also responsible for last summer’s Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club, joined MTV as a showrunner in 2016 and was quickly elevated to vice president, original series.
Pendelton, SVP, Original Series, broadens her slate that’s comprised of the new hit series The Hills: New Beginnings, VH1’s Girls Cruise and dating series Are You the One: Come One Come All. Pendelton began her career at MTV as a writer/producer on Spring Break among other shows. She went on to work as an executive at several networks before returning to the brand in 2018.